Everyday Prep

Poetry Project #6

I look in the mirror


and wish that I

would go away.

I watch my eyes

as they grow sad

and see my tears

they make me mad.

I run my fingers

through my hair

I pull it out

I hate it there.

I see my face

it’s blotchy and red

from crying so hard

as I wish I were dead.

I put on my make-up

I wish I were pretty

then I study hard

thank God I’m not preppy.

~2000 (age 16)


I’m starting to realize I won’t be able to change these poems from their original forms too much.  There’s something about their imperfections, the teenage confusion, and the lack of clarity in the underlying message that I don’t want to change. It’s almost like “fixing” them would desecrate them which is silly because some of these lines (for this poem the last stanza [whatever that’s called]) doesn’t make as much sense as it could.

Let’s travel back 16 years to when I was 16 so this poem could make a smidge more sense.  I really did not like [what I called] “preppy” people; I always thought there was this level of fabrication involved in the bubbliness of these people.  I think this was because I had trouble trying to find a way to be happy with my “loner” personality.  Happiness is not something we can force ourselves to be.  We can pretend all day long but at the end of the day we are tired because of how much energy it takes to wear that fake smile.

What this poem is about is that era in a teenager’s life when they are learning to accept the things they know they can’t change.  I may have cried a lot, I may have felt angry at the sadness I allowed to live within me but there were times when I studied my reflection after a long, remorseful cry and discovered myself in that reflection with my pain clear on my face and in my eyes.  In those moments I was not pretending, I was not hiding and I knew exactly who I was.  No amount of money, friends or extra-fine looks could help me find me like those private moments in front of a mirror could.  I would rather be sad and be 100% me than hidden behind everything I am not, including a smile I can’t connect with…



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